Fix Hyperlinks Not Working In Outlook

By |2019-04-01T10:03:25-05:00July 18th, 2017|Categories: Tech Tips, Windows|Tags: , , , , , , , , |13 Comments
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I recently ran into an issue where Outlook 2016 on Windows 10 was giving me one of these errors whenever I would try to click on a link: “This operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer. Please contact your system administrator” or “Your organization’s policies are preventing us from completing this action for you. For more info, please contact your help desk”. While there are security policies in place, the ability to click on a hyperlink is not included in them, so the issue had to be from something else. In my case, my default browser was set to Firefox (recently upgraded from the x86 to the x64 version, which might have been when the problem started). After some digging, I found the steps needed to resolve this issue.

How To Fix Hyperlinks Not Working In Outlook

Step 1: Reset Internet Explorer settings

  • Start Internet Explorer.
  • Select Tools > Internet Options.
  • Select Advanced > Reset.
  • In the Reset Internet Explorer Settings window, select Delete personal settings > Reset.
  • Select Close when it is completed.
  • Close and restart Internet Explorer.

Step 2: Reset Your Default Programs

  • In Internet Explorer, Select Tools > Internet Options.
  • Select Programs > Set programs.
  • Select Set your default programs.
  • In the Programs list, select Microsoft Outlook > Set this program as default.
  • Scroll back up to the top of the default programs list and highlight Internet Explorer and select Set this program as default.
  • Select OK, and close the Default Programs dialog box.

Step 3: Fix The .html Registry Key

  • Select Start > Run.
  • In the Open box, type regedit, and then select OK.
  • Locate, and then click the following registry subkey: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT \.html
  • Make sure that the value of the String (Default) is “htmlfile“. If it’s not “htmlfile”, right-click (Default), select Modify, input htmlfile in the Value data box, and then select OK.
  • Exit Registry Editor.

Step 4 (Optional): Fix The .htm, .shtml, .xht, .xhtml Registry Keys

  • Open an administrator command prompt
  • Enter the following commands:

    REG ADD HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.htm /ve /d htmlfile /f
    REG ADD HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.html /ve /d htmlfile /f
    REG ADD HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.shtml /ve /d htmlfile /f
    REG ADD HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.xht /ve /d htmlfile /f
    REG ADD HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.xhtml /ve /d htmlfile /f

  • Restart your computer

Final Steps
After completing the steps above, try clicking on a hyperlink in Outlook again and it should open in Internet Explorer. Once you have verified links are working, you should be able to change your default browser back to Firefox or Chrome and the links should open in that browser now.

You can try some other options from this Microsoft KB article.

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  1. steve December 9, 2017 at 8:20 pm - Reply

    Thank you. This worked on the first try.

  2. Alana Hamilton January 13, 2018 at 11:16 pm - Reply

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! This has been driving me crazy!

  3. cpt_majestic1 (@cpt_majestic1) February 8, 2018 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    Thanks so much, I’ve been battling this problem for weeks and haven’t had any luck with other solutions.

  4. Bix Beiderbeck (@bix_beiderbeck) February 8, 2018 at 4:49 pm - Reply

    Well done Sir! Thank you for a short and to the point remedy.

  5. Cathy February 13, 2018 at 1:37 pm - Reply

    did not work

  6. Berta Litvak February 19, 2018 at 8:51 pm - Reply

    Thank you SO much!!! I can use my email normally now, I was so stressed. Vert glad I read your article. Works perfectly.

  7. brcommunicatie February 22, 2018 at 3:35 am - Reply

    I used only step 3 and it worked fine. (Outlook 2016, Firefox en Windows10)

  8. Chris Newton March 20, 2018 at 6:33 am - Reply

    this is great thank you very much

  9. Dandy Don March 20, 2018 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    Here what worked for me in Outlook 2010: I went into Win-10 settings\update & security\troubleshoot\program compatibility troubleshooter, and then selected Outlook and ran the troubleshooter. It identified a problem and gave me two options. The first one didn’t work but the second one did. The troubleshooter went into Outlook and repaired the glitch. I can now open hyperlinks in Outlook.

  10. Patricia March 9, 2019 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Thank you! What well-explained solution. Worked the first time.l

  11. Ron K March 31, 2019 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    OK I spent a billion hours on this PROBLEM…I did these steps and many others and no luck UNTIL I saw this post by a guy named Benf in a forum..I did the steps and my hyperlinks work GREAT again. Just saved you hours of frustration :

    You enter the commands Benf listed by typing CMD in the start box and then in the command interface copy and paste each command and hit enter! Too easy! :)

    • Robert Russell April 1, 2019 at 10:05 am - Reply

      Thank you for sharing. I’ve added another step to the article above with the CMD commands.

      Originally, my steps only fixed HTML links. The CMD commands fix other types like .htm, etc.

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